January is National Eye Care Month: Are $1 Readers Hurting Your Eyes?

Who amongst you has been able to read prescription bottles, lists of ingredients, or any fine print, only to learn that once you are in your late 40’s, find it a challenge? It’s a common problem due to a condition called presbyopia, where the lens in your eye loses flexibility, which makes it difficult to focus on close objects. The result is that you need some magnification, and so many resort to the use of readers or cheaters.

Are $1 Glasses Safe?

Many health plans, including Medicare, don’t cover glasses, so it’s tempting to purchase inexpensive readers at your local dollar store. The experts say that while getting an eye exam is preferable, inexpensive, over-the-counter readers are a safe solution for the vast majority. 

What to consider when you’re buying readers.

Readers are usually fine for those who need the same refraction in both eyes or who have vision in only one eye.

When you’re trying out readers and two options seem suitable, choose the glasses with the lower power. Picking reading glasses that are too strong may cause more problems than reading glasses that are on the weaker side. 

If you’re using glasses for the computer, your typical lens power may be less than needed for other reading.  You might also want to get them with filters which will aid with computer light and also block out damaging UV light.

Opt for an eye exam when:

  • Your eyes are closer together or farther apart than usual
  • You need a different strength, or correction, for each eye
  • You have astigmatism